The Bosch AI technology will warn inattentive drivers, recommend a break if they are getting tired, and even reduce the speed of vehicles.
Scheduled to go into production in 2022, the system comprises a camera integrated in the steering wheel which detects when drivers’ eyelids are getting heavy, when they are distracted, and when they turn their head toward their passenger or the rear seats.
To achieve this, Bosch engineers have used intelligent image-processing algorithms and machine learning to teach the system to understand what the person in the driving seat is actually doing. For example with driver drowsiness, the system is trained using recordings of real driving situations and, on the basis of recordings of eyelid position and eye-blink rate, it can learn how tired the driver really is. This allows it to give an alert that is appropriate to the situation, and to use the driver assistance systems to intervene.
Bosch claims that warning systems that sound the alert in the case of distraction and drowsiness will be so important in the future that NCAP, the European New Car Assessment Program, will include them in the roadmap for the Euro NCAP assessment for vehicle safety by 2025. The company says that when it comes to monitoring, only the software in the vehicle itself evaluates the information provided by the interior monitoring system – it is neither saved nor passed on to third parties.
The Bosch system also keeps an eye on all the other passengers, whether next to or behind the driver thanks to a camera mounted above or below the rear-view mirror which monitors the entire passenger compartment. It notices whether children in the back of the car have carelessly unfastened their seat belts, and warns the driver accordingly.
If someone sitting in the back is leaning too far forward, at an angle, or with their feet up on the seat next to them, the airbags and belt tensioner will not be able to protect them properly in an accident. The interior monitoring camera can tell their position and set the airbags and belt tensioner to ensure the best possible protection. The interior monitoring system also prevents the passenger-seat airbag from being deployed if a baby’s car seat is there.
Says Harald Kroeger, member of the Robert Bosch GmbH board of management: “If the car knows what its driver and occupants are doing, driving will become safer and more convenient.”